Buyer – and Seller – BeAware!

Well, I knew this time would come.  The DOW Jones is at an all-time high, and homebuilder stocks are on the rise.  There has been talk for some time about a “Housing Recovery.”  Well, it is here.

I have been an optimist about the resolve of our people, and always held the confidence that things were not always improving – but they weren’t as bad as the national media had hyped them to be.  Therefore, this post is somewhat out of character for me.  I don’t typically post anything “negative,” but, this morning I got a disturbing text:

Back in the mortgage business.  I am with a credit union.  0 points lowest rates.  You know anyone send them my way pls.  [Name withheld].  [Phone withheld] Plus I pay you referral bonus each person that need my help $200.

First of all, the most disturbing part of this isn’t even the fact that offering a referral is illegal.  It’s the fact that my reply was, “Who is this?”  Once the person identified herself, it got more concerning… SHE DIDN’T KNOW WHO I WAS!  I was “in [her] rolodex, did we do business before?”

Here it is folks.  After years of mortgage, and real estate professionals alike, jumping ship to the “safe” job with a steady paycheck, they’re being lured back to the business with the idea of easy money – your money.  The real estate profession has battled for years to overcome the stereotype of sleazy, cheap suit wearing slugs that looked at the buyer/seller as nothing more than a dollar sign.  It’s disgusting to see some of these folks thinking they’re going to jump right back in and pick up where they left off in 2008.

I have paid my dues – along with every other agent that has fought hard for every morsel of business in this market.  I still remember my wife thinking I was crazy for leaving a salaried real estate position with a large builder to venture into the unknown… in 2010!  Who was getting into residential resales in 2010?  Not many.  I was.

I built my business by providing exemplary service for clients – buyers and sellers.  Clients that I now consider friends.  I don’t spend much on advertising, you won’t see me in the papers.  I spend time on building relationships, sharpening the saw – as Stephen Covey calls it, the 7th Habit of Highly Effective People.  I spent hours (over 240 in fact) in a classroom to acquire my brokers license.  I spent more time to receive designations, such as Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), Graduate, Realtor Institute (GRI), Short Sale & Foreclosure Resource (SFR).

Now, I have to fight for business on a different front.  I may not be competing for mortgages – as this text I received was – but, I am all but certain that if this is starting in the lending arena, it’s already started on the purchase and sales sides.

I have a lender that I’ve dealt with for the better part of 3 years now.  I deal with her for one reason – SHE DOES IT RIGHT.  Would you like a reference?  I could provide you with pages of references on her ability, knowledge, communication skills, patience, and (most importantly) integrity.

I have two home inspection companies I work with – for the same reason as the lender I chose.  They’re professionals performing at the highest levels in their fields.

Birds of a feather flock together.

Think about who you’re working with – are they willing to sell you to a bum lender for a $200 referral fee?  Are they willing to compromise your security in a transaction?  What else are they doing that’s not on the “up and up”?

Ask your agent – who they deal with… why they deal with that person… do they have experience with that person… know what’s going on – it’s YOUR MONEY!

I recently had a client looking for unique financing due to the property they were looking to purchase.  It consisted of a lot of farm land, so the financing changes slightly.  I reached out to the people I know and asked them who’d they recommend.  I then contacted the VP of lending at that bank and asked to be set up with someone on their team that could deliver. That’s how you find a lender – when you need something different.  That’s professional courtesy to your client.

I was burned in my first re-sale transaction by a lender.  She couldn’t get the deal closed in 45 days in 2010.  That was insane.  It took nearly 2 1/2 months.  I was embarrassed and learned an important lesson – surround yourself with the best.

If you know me, you know I am competitive.  I look at those I associate myself with as a “team.”  That includes my clients.  I have a lender, home inspectors, lawyers, title clerks, and insurance agents that are the best in their business.  I expect that of myself – I expect that of them.  Nobody is winning any Superbowls with average players.

Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.

I guess, at the end of the day, I do get a “referral fee” from my associates.  I get the peace of mind that my clients are taken care of – and my deals close.   Maybe that’s just not enough for others.

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